Many well-known people grew up in adoptive homes. Some, such as Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, have used their high public profiles to further the cause of adopted children. Others have been more discreet when talking about their upbringings.
Dave Thomas was adopted at birth. His adoptive mother died only a few years later. As a teenager, Thomas dropped out of high school to pursue work in the restaurant business, going on to found Wendy's in 1969. Later in life, he started the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to streamline the adoption process for both children and their families.
Malcolm Little's father was murdered in 1931. After the loss, Little's mother suffered a breakdown and had to be committed to an asylum. Her children, including Malcolm, were sent to an orphanage and eventually adopted by different families. As an adult, Malcolm Little abandoned his family name, preferring to be known as Malcolm X.
Norma Jeane Mortenson was born to an unstable single mother in 1926. For 16 years, she lived in various foster homes and orphanages. Finally, at age 16, she married a merchant sailor rather than accept placement in yet another foster home. When World War II ended, Norma divorced her husband, took the name Marilyn Monroe and began looking for work as a model and actress.